Garden Photo of the Day

Iowa Spring, Part 1

An Iowa gardener is remembering previous springs—and looking forward to this spring finally arriving

Kathy Schreurs of Sheldon, Iowa, was inspired by a GPOD post to send in pictures of her own garden (I hope you’ll do the same!). She wrote:

I just now enjoyed reading the “Sisters’ Gardens” post on the Garden Photo of the Day. I also have two sisters who garden, and we too experience dissimilar settings. My Washington State sister lives in the best of worlds (from an Iowa perspective) when it comes to gardening, and my Iowa sister gardens in extreme and full sun while I garden in various ranges of shade. We share a common failing: buying new plants that beckon in the garden centers and then cruising our borders to look for that spot where, just possibly, we can squeeze in one more plant.

My husband and I bought our property twenty years ago. At that time, our now-125-year-old Folk Victorian, sitting on a lot and a half, claimed only a vintage mock orange shrub, a tiny patch of failing iris, a foundation border of bridal wreath spirea, and about 20 old but lofty trees. (Unfortunately, some have succumbed to age, wind, and ice storms.) My goal, when looking out of the beautiful old windows of our house, was to see flowers and blooming shrubs from any vantage point in the house. I’m getting closer.

Typically on this date in northwestern Iowa, I would already have seen and enjoyed hellebores, crocus, lungworts, and early tulips. This year, nada. As I write this, we are expecting a record-setting blizzard. It has been a long winter. But here are some pictures of previous springs in my garden.

My husband’s hobby is photography, and since plants are more likely to stand still than our 14 grandchildren, he often captures their beauty for me. One challenge is helping him to understand that although I love the gorgeous close-ups, like this bleeding heart, (Dicentra spectabilis, Zones 3–9), I really appreciate seeing plants in a slightly larger setting.

I love pairing the fresh greens of spring with white, so that combination shows up in several places in my borders in April-May. I reserve one space for white tulips in the spring and white browallia (Browallia americana, annual) during the summer. I like calm, restful spots, and the combination provides peace in spite of a rather chaotic mix of hostas.

I’ve spread Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’, Zones 3–8) to several dry, shady spots—always marveling at how a few roots have spread to masses—and on these pictures they are paired with snowdrop anemone (Anemone sylvestris, Zones 3–9).

The bright hosta in the bottom left is ‘Fire Island’, but in the absence of a huge tree branch, the victim of an ice storm, makes me think I should relocate it. It tends to burn now in the late summer.

The fern peony (Paeonia tenuifolia, Zones 3–8) that keeps them company was transplanted from my mother’s garden.

I sent you a couple of photos of Solomon’s seal and snowdrop anemone. I’m including another one of the anemone, just because they make me happy.

This narrow border curves around a sidewalk alongside our house. I love green-white tulips, and I’m happy this variety comes back year after year. The showier, more colorful varieties are usually a whim when I’m perusing bulb catalogs in the fall. (Learn more about tulips.) Although our property has a large amount of picket fencing, the section in this picture is attached to nothing. My husband installed what was intended to be a temporary, stand-alone section one year at Christmas, and it’s become permanent.


Come back tomorrow for more of this beautiful garden!


Have a garden you’d like to share?


Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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View Comments


  1. user-7003263 04/24/2018

    Kathy, I love your combinations of green and white with just a few smatterings of other, spring colors. Green and white is such a classic color combination in a garden. Your garden is so calm and refreshing it was a pleasure to wake to it this morning. Thanks for sharing (and for getting 7 photos posted).

  2. garden1953 04/24/2018

    Lush and healthy plants. I too love the white flowers surrounded by all your lush green foliage. Thank you for sharing.

  3. NCYarden 04/24/2018

    I gonna repeat it...the green and white combination is splendid. And love the frilly fine texture on the fern peony - I bet they flutter at the slightest breeze. Sorry to hear of the late start on your Spring. Hopefully your patience will be rewarded handsomely. Thanks for sharing.

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/24/2018

    Oh, my, goodness!!! That 1st pic is absolutely amazing!

  5. Chris_N 04/24/2018

    You and your husband make a good team. You plant them and he photographs them. Great photos, wonderful restful garden. Looking forward to part 2.

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/24/2018

    Kathy, I thoroughly enjoyed your delightful commentary as well as the wonderful photos taken by your husband. I couldn't resist doing a quick search on the current and upcoming weather for Sheldon and it looks like spring might finally be making its appearance. Hopefully, the growth of your usual spring blooms will be supercharged with pent up energy and you will once again be surrounded by the beauty shown in the pictures. Since this was labelled Part 1, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's sharing from you.

  7. Sunshine111 04/24/2018

    Gorgeous! I am bookmarking this because I’m going to use this Anemone in my garden too!

  8. Maggieat11 04/24/2018

    Lovely! And I MUST get some Anemone sylvestris!! The photos are wonderful, your plantings delightful~~~ I too, am looking forward to tomorrows posting. Thank you!

  9. User avater
    DawnMT 04/24/2018

    Beautiful garden! I Love anemones too! Your hostas look so full and happy. Looking forward to part 2.

  10. user-7061048 04/24/2018

    Thank you for your kind words about my Iowa garden photos. And yes, Michaele, spring seems to have finally arrived here! I started clearing off my perennial beds yesterday and was thrilled to find a variety of old friends poking through the soil.

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 04/24/2018's a sentiment that I came across that I shared with a more northern living friend recently...
      No winter lasts forever
      No spring skips its turn (Hal Borland)

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/24/2018

    Great photos and wonderful plant selection. It has seemed like spring would never come, but I think it's starting to reveal itself, even in Iowa!

  12. user-7017435 04/24/2018

    Good morning, I can only repeat what everyone has said. Your green & white combo's are terrific as is your husband's photography. I am hosting a garden club meeting next week & hope the S.olomon Seal bloom as well as yours.
    Thank you & good luck , Joe

  13. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 04/24/2018

    Kathy, you captured my attention with the beautiful greens and whites which I also find so pleasing. Your Anemone sylvestris looks quite cheerful. I’ve been gradually moving mine from an area where they get eaten to a safer place so that we can enjoy the blooms. My compliments to your husband for his photos. According to an Iowa friend, your weather has improved so maybe you’ll be seeing all of this soon.

  14. cheryl_c 04/24/2018

    Kathy, I loved your plants and your photos, but especially I loved your commentary. Your remark about the picket fence has a real familiar ring to it - thinking about various times when the 'temporary fix' developed an unintended permanence! This is the year we were already adding a green and ivory garden - viburnum, helebores, and filipendula flore pleno were all on my list, along with white daffodils to foil the voles... but now I find myself thinking 'anemones' also. Thanks for this great contribution!

  15. btucker9675 04/24/2018

    The anemones make me happy, too - thanks for sharing your beautiful garden.

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